Dead Cat - the work of Matthew Gaffen


Gregory Barsimian, Museum of Childhood, The Old Copper Mill and Ideas for FMP

Ok, so I'm not quite as hard at work as I should be, but I don't believe many people are at this stage. I've been visiting galleries for research, one of particular interest for me was the current exhibit at the Kinetica gallery in Spitalfields. It's got all sorts of mechanical art works on display, which are quite fascinating to watch. Here's an example of Gregory Barsimian's work, one of the artists who is displaying there there.

his works are incredible, like seeing a real-life stop frame animation.

In any case, I've now started forming ideas for the project left right and centre as per usual. One of the first ideas to come to me was one of a sculpture - a puppet of me, being manipulated by a sculpture of a rather larger puppet, which has had its strings cut. This is an attempt to express what I imagine it to be like to be subject to bullying from a person that no-one is aware of but myself. in order to give it an unsettling, 'voodoo-esque' quality, I plan to use my own hair for the hair of my puppet.

Another idea was that of obtaining a second hand photo booth, and converting it to 'take a picture of the person's model'. To whit - when a person uses it, there's a bright flash, and you see something other that your face reflected in the glass. I decided that this idea was both a little too difficult to arrange in the time, and to hard to execute without being laughable.

I was inspired by the recent Hauser and Wirth exhibit at the old copper mill 'Absolutely Botiful' to create an interior space, with the appearance of being lived in. I wanted to create the impression of a toy maker's workshop, who's work is an attempt to express his frustration at having a voice/person in his head that no-one else can witness. (Don't worry, this isn't autobiographical - I just find the subject matter fascinating!)

I also visited the museum of childhood in Bethnal Green, and saw some rather disturbing children's toys - no wonder we're so fucked up. On a side note - maybe having more toys makes us less socially aware? I had FAR too many toys, and I'm not exactly the most graceful social butterfly. Toys could, in some way, be seen as a way to avoid talking to or interacting with other people?

Anyway, following that idea, I also wanted to make one of those miniature children's theatre - one of those ones with the cardboard figures on sticks that you wave about from the wings, with scenery that can slide in and out. Need to think more about the content of it though.

Nearly got all my ideas down for now. I also want to take some photographs based on a recent catwalk show - I'll find you a reference photo for my next post. The models all had pieces of gauze over their eyes, which were made up to look like skin. I wanted to hang some pictures of me and friends made up like this on the wall in my installation, possibly representing what my fictitious characters friends (on second thought he probably doesn't have any friends). Also, I could hide a blood pack behind the gause, so I could take a picture of my character 'cutting his eyes open'. Not quite sure of the symbolism there though.

Finally a couple of notes on the display itself. The theatre will sit on a cheap desk, possibly with the sculpture on the other side, or on a second storage unit of some kind. I'll use a grubby piece of old carpet for the floor, and at least one desk draw will be full of dismembered doll/manakin bits. a friend of mine will be creating some disturbing wallpaper for her final piece which, with her permission, I will use some of to decorate the walls of my installation, which will take about 3m square ground space, in a corner preferably. my pictures will be hung on the wall, and I will hide small speakers in certain places to provide atmospheric sound when you get close to an object.

Depending on how it goes with that lot, there may be more stuff to go in there to come.

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